Serrano Girls Tennis Team Go Undefeated as Mojave River League Champions

PHOTO: Leandra Moreno-Prince - NewsPlus

The Serrano Girls Tennis Team & 2023 Mojave River League Champions! Back row from left to right: Madison Taylor , Brooklynn Canright, Rylie Widmer, Audrey Pearce, Eva Gowdy, Riley Tingesdahl, Juliana Stoil, Sara Segall, and Abigail McGinty. Middle row from left to right: Valeria Martinez, Meryllance Bagaipo, Ashlynn Dabell, Samantha Ruiz, and Madison Smale. Front row from left to right: Grace Lou, Coach Heather Dodson, and Maleah Madayag. (Not pictured: Alexis Escalara)

The Serrano High School Girls Tennis team went undefeated with a winning league record of 10-0 during their Fall 2023 season and had an overall record of 17-0. The team was able to clinch their CIF spot before the season was even over during a league match at Oak Hills High School on October 17th, where they beat the Bulldogs with a final score of 11-7.

The Serrano Girls Tennis Team face their opponents, Burroughs High School, at the last regular game of the season.

Two days later, on October 19th, the Diamondbacks played their final match of the regular season at home against Burroughs High School from Ridgecrest. With only one game left, the pressure for a perfect winning season was on. “It’s nice to have our CIF spot already, but we really want to win league [champions],” said Coach Heather Dodson going into the last game. Heather Dodson teaches math at Serrano High and has coached girl’s tennis for the past four years.

In the final game, three singles players and three doubles teams from each school played against each other for the best of 3 rounds. The Burroughs team attempted to pull an upset and applied new strategies by switching up their usual singles players to instead include them in the doubles matches. The doubles teams were now different from when the Diamondbacks last played them back in September. But, even with the surprise scramble of the opposing team members, the Diamondbacks still defeated the Burros in a close game with a score of 10-8.

The Serrano Girls Tennis final win of the season came down to the doubles matches during a close game where they won with a score of 10-8.

Senior Audrey Pearce has played on the girl’s tennis team for all four years of her high school career and mentioned that the team has overcome challenges like this before. “There was one week during the season when almost half of our team was injured,” said Pearce. Despite all the challenges, the team comes together to support one another. Pearce says the team is super close, and her favorite things about her teammates are the positive energy they bring and the fun they have together, even when they aren’t competing in tennis matches.

After the final game, the team celebrated their win by recognizing all of the Senior Tennis players with banners, flowers, and balloons for “Senior Night.” Coach Dodson even gave a personalized and heartfelt speech for each of the Senior girls on the team, which includes Audrey Pearce, Eva Gowdy, Juliana Stoil, Riley Tingesdahl, and Rylie Widmer.

The team will now go on to compete in the CIF Southern Section Preliminaries this November, where they will play against other top high schools from all over Southern California.

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